Category Archives: Design

Visual and User Interface Design and Layout

Note on Quilting and 80s Culture

Bed Valance, Massachusetts, ca. 1770. Wool embroidery on linen




Sampler. Mary Welsh (1760-1820), Boston, Massachusetts, ca. 1770. OH: 23″; OW: 16 3/4.” Silk on linen.



Exposure-corrected copy of Image:Hawaiian_Applique_Quilt.jpg. Original Flickr description: These authentic Hawaiian tapestries are hanging in the lobby of our hotel (Kauai Sands).


Narrative, metaphorical and relational space.  The space of quilts is not just the overall, it’s the space of the movement across and within.  It is also the space of daily interaction.

Applique Quilt, 1850. Made by Mary Jane Kirckpatrick Harlan. Rush Co, Indiana.

 The problem, in my view, is the underrepresentation of formal intention, misunderstood as parochial or naive, in critical thought.  I’m in no position to critically judge these to the extent they reflect the artist’s hand.  But I love them.
But any of these could be “pathways” through a game.

Robbi Eklow


Pictorial Quilt, 1795. Linen, multicolored thread. Brooklyn Museum

The below image  has both interesting color and spatial complexity, to me.



This, to many people, is a treasured object

Millsent Connor (American, born 1789) Boston, Massachusetts


I love this image

This game was all about leveling and the space (Barnett Newman?) and the color changed richly as one progressed, as I recall.

Few thoughts from my background.  One, the color of Atari games was really compelling and made me want to level.  The space of Atari games is flat, eternal kind of space and has been used in quilts already but the space of quilts, to me, is the same kind of space but is a rich tradition that I adore.  The other is that Gary Gygax created magic and mystery.  My question: what were the connections between the visual work created for D&D and the concept?


Collection of New England Quilt Museum


National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington DC

This is the basic ground, for me, for most 2D games.  The 2D, eternal kind of space of American textiles is still way under-appreciated and every time I look, I get ever more interested in all of the textile arts.


Martys Fiber Musings


One of the tapestries in the series The Hunt of the Unicorn: The Unicorn is Found, circa 1495-1505, the Cloisters,Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Verdure with Deer and Shields, accompaniment to the Holy Grail tapestries woven by Morris & Co. 1891-94 for Stanmore Hall. This version woven by Morris & Co. 1900 for Mrs. J. T. Middlemore. Wool and silk on cotton warp. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

I just really encourage people to look for things that touch them for personal reasons when viewing some of these incredibly moving portraits but I see them as social portraits not works in a fixed historical line.


Thoughts on Mondrian and Related

Joseph Yoakum
American, 1890-1972

American Zeppolin Flight from New York City to Paris France in Year 1939, 1969

This line of thought is also connected to a previous post of images around Judith Leyster.

You might say that I have always been interested in the artists whose work had the largest, positive social and ethical impact. Some did that very loudly, some sooooooper quietly, but the aims were the same. It’s the complexity of communication that needs to be recovered and *most* of that communication is not pictured.  It’s formal language; it’s technique with metaphor.

I think Art History has, in the past, been badly misjudged by technical category and grouping by literal and obvious and inappropriate groupings. It’s my view they should be seen socially, as they were made.

It’s the understanding of it that matters.  Mondrian used, distilled, understood and demonstrated a kind of visual thought and built a useful, reproducible vision for it, but he wasn’t, by any stretch, the only one.  A foundation of visual balance and craft as creative process in an, otherwise, very rigid frame.  On that same line of thought: I think the narrative of abstraction in Caravaggio’s work is always what’s so interesting and how it connects to his personal narrative.  That line of thought (in all formal threads, including social narrative) is what I like about this work.

So the centeredness, or the location of balance in any public, visual presentation has a lot to do with its visual impact and meaning.  Sophistication of understanding the center is the visual and conceptual equivalent of enjoying good food.  Drawing, but also painting (which can mean drawing, of course) is, to me, the contained social knowledge of the visual tradition.  Experiential understanding of it can add to all kinds of practical projects and is, largely, missing in much of popular culture because of the dominant structures of presentation of visual information.  Visual balance has real social meaning and identity reflection is complex but real yet indefinite and unnameable.  This is why I believe use of self in public performance is a formal question and requires the same balanced approach as the great painters and draughtspeople on this page as some examples.